Mark Allison, aka Run Geordie Run, will be celebrating in style in just a few hours as he welcomes the New Year in Australia. The remarkable endurance runner and ace fundraiser will have to make sure that the bubbles come strictly from mineral water but Mark will be in good spirits as he looks ahead to the final stages of his 2,000 plus mile Ozyssey.
Just a few days ago it seemed that the Geordie's dream of running from Perth in the west of the continent to Sydney in the east was in tatters when Mark reluctantly acknowledged his planned route along the Hume Highway would not be possible because of the dangers of running along one of the country's most deadly roads.
A deflated Mark was resigned to eleventh hour failure but further investigations of local roads produced an alternative route to the coast at Shellharbour.
Mark set out from Cottesloe Beach, near Perth on October 16 and originally planned to run around 41 miles for 62 of the following 70 days, arriving at Bondi Beach in Sydney on Christmas Eve. However, in early November he suffered severe pain in his feet as he crossed the Nullarbor Plain, coming close to calling his journey off and only continuing with the help of strong painkillers, but the injury slowed him down.
That in turn saw him run through his rest days, taking just one day off in 67, but as his self imposed deadline approached he still had more than 220 miles to go. Mark took time off to re-group over Christmas, resuming on Boxing Day, but when he reached the Hume Highway he was faced with running huge distances in darkness on a notorious route with no hard shoulder.
It seemed that Run Geordie Run had run into a brick wall.
However Mark refused to accept defeat and came up with Plan B. The new plans will see Mark rest until tomorrow (1 January) then tackle the amended route which sees him run 140 difficult miles including a late stretch at Macquarrie Pass to the new finish on the coast at Shellharbour.
The Run Geordie Run Australia challenge has raised over £40,000 for The Children's Foundation and The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. You can support Mark's fundraising effort at Virginmoneygiving.